Using eight two-year panels from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey data for the period 2004 to 2012, we examine the effect of economic shocks on mental health spending by families with children. Estimating two-part expenditure models within the correlated random effects framework, we find that employment shocks have a greater impact on mental health spending than do income or health insurance shocks. Our estimates reveal that employment gains are associated with a lower likelihood of family mental health services utilization. By contrast employment losses are positively related to an increase in total family mental health. We do not detect a link between economic shocks and mental health spending on behalf of fathers.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
- Economics and Econometrics
- Economic shocks
- Family financial status
- Mental health
- Mental health spending